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Abandoned Mascot

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For Bosko, that was all, folks.

"And McDonald's gave your job to a box with a face! Left you behind, like a quiet kid in a Play Place!"
Wendy (the Wendy's mascot) to Ronald McDonald, Epic Rap Battles of History
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Series Mascots are usually consistent for decades on end, however eventually many works or companies will replace their mascot. It's not uncommon to even go through multiple mascots throughout their lifespan.

Why mascots get replaced varies. Sometimes the original mascot is too outdated and/or offensive, so they're replaced instead of redesigned. At other times, a new mascot is created for a retool, rebranding, or marketing change. Often times the old mascot is just outshined by a newer Breakout Character who ends up becoming the successor mascot. Replacing mascots is more common with advertisements than in other media, however this still pops up in various mediums.

This can be an example of Early Installment Weirdness if the older mascot is replaced early enough in the franchise's history. Much more rarely manifests as Later Installment Weirdness, which happens in emergency cases if the former mascot becomes tainted with controversy and has to be scrapped to save face. Compare Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, Demoted to Extra, and What Happened to the Mouse?.

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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • MLJ Comics's original mascot was the patriotic superhero The Shield. However their smash hit Archie Comics series was so successful, not only did Archie become their mascot, but MLJ changed their name to Archie Comics. The Shield languished and became a public domain character, however Archie has made attempts to revitalize the character since the 1990s.

    Film — Animation 
  • In-Universe with King and Boss in Isle of Dogs, for King was the star of twenty-two dog food commercials and Boss was the mascot of a high school baseball team before all the city's dogs were put on Trash Island.
  • The tin soldier from the Tin Toy short was Pixar's first mascot. He was even going to have a Christmas Special at one point. Eventually he was phased out and replaced with the lamp on their Vanity Plate, Luxo Jr from the short Luxo Jr..

    Live Action TV 
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    Sports 
  • The Minnesota Twins briefly had a common loon (which was the state bird of Minnesota) named Twinkie for their mascot. Unfortunately, this bird was not to be, and was instantly exterminated from the establishment. Years later, a bear named T.C. strode out on the field. Surprisingly, he was much cuter than Twinkie and the Twins had kept him ever since.
  • The Golden State Warriors had starting in the mid-90s the superhero Thunder, who was even in the team logo. Then the Seattle franchise was relocated and renamed Oklahoma City Thunder, and for obvious reasons Thunder had to go. The Warriors hadn't bothered replacing him.
  • The National Hockey League has three cases of abandoned but inherited mascots:
    • Youppi!, the orange-furred mascot of the Montreal Expos created by Muppet designer Bonnie Erickson, was sent his walking papers when the Expos moved to Washington, DC and became the Nationals. He was promptly picked up by the Montreal Canadiens.
    • The Arena Football League's New York Dragons played in the same Nassau Coliseum as the New York Islanders. Once the team folded, mascot Sparky the Dragon remained with the Islanders.
    • The Vancouver Canucks and their original titular mascot, Johnny Canuck, an occasional Anthropomorphic Personification of Canada here portrayed as a Mighty Lumberjack on skates with a hockey stick, was replaced with Fin the Whale, an anthropomorphic orca, and their old logo with one featuring a stylized killer whale in the shape of a C. This has not gone over well with all of the fans, as some consider it a tasteless reference to the team's parent company, Orca Bay entertainment, and hold Johnny Canuck as a more fitting symbol. On the other hand are those who point out the prominence and number of the whales around the pacific coast, and the fact that Johnny Canuck himself was more a symbol of Canada in general than any singular region.
    • Winnipeg had the minor league Manitoba Moose. Once the beloved Winnipeg Jets returned, the Moose relocated but mascot Mick E. Moose stayed for the Jets. And in an amusing case, the Moose eventually came back, even playing in the same arena as their major league affiliate!
  • A straight example from the NHL involves the Philadelphia Flyers. The first time that the Flyers tried introducing a mascot was in 1976, named Slapshot. He was an orange, muppet-like creature with weird eyes and dressed like a hockey player, but he was largely unmemorable - outside of some stray merchandise from his debut, he was quickly forgotten and retired after merely a single season of use. The team then went over 40 years before trying again... with Gritty, who is also an orange, muppet-like creature with weird eyes and dressed like a hockey player (the main difference, outside of Slapshot not wearing pants/a shirt, is that Gritty is considerably more, well, gritty).

    Software 

    Toys 
  • Monster High initially positioned Frankie Stein as the face of the Franchise, with the first collectors doll being a variation of her signature look. However, that position got slowly taken over by Draculaura (who, like Pinkie Pie, was pink and bubbly). The 2016 reboot made it official and swapped out Frankie for Draculaura as the franchise's mascot.
  • The mascot to My Little Pony changes each gen. In the original G1 line from the 1980s, Firefly was the unofficial mascot. G2 didn't have one due to being unpopular outside of Europe. Ever since G3, Pinkie Pie has been the mascot that is featured on most merchandise (being pink and bubbly, despite Twilight Sparkle being G4's main character).

    Video Games 
  • K.K. Slider was the original mascot of Animal Crossing franchise. The fourth title, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, introduced the protagonist's secretary, Isabelle. Isabelle quickly became a Breakout Character and surpassed K.K. Slider as the series' mascot, though he is still prominently featured in merchandising. Both K.K. and Isabelle are Funny Animal dog characters, but Isabelle is cuter and quirkier. She became a playable character in Mario Kart 8, which greatly increased her popularity, and when Isabelle became a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, her role as the series mascot was sealed.
  • Back when it was known as "Silicon and Synapse", Blizzard's mascot was a brain with arms and legs, wearing a pair of sunglasses. It was replaced in 1993.
  • Capcom had various mascots during its history:
    • The first one was Captain Commando, (note that the first three letters of each word forms the word "CapCom"), from the game Captain Commando as well as the NES game Section Z. He has gone on to appear in many of Capcom's fighting games, including Marvel vs. Capcom. Mega Man is now considered to be Capcom's mascot, because of the large amount of games in the franchise and the popularity of the franchise. Ryu, from Street Fighter, could also be considered one of Capcom's mascots, but he is more thought of as the face of the Street Fighter franchise and the face of Capcom's fighting games.
    • The Yashichi is an item that appears in many of Capcom's games. Usually, it acts as health restoration or a power-up. It is a red circle that has something resembling a pinwheel on it. The Yashichi was first in Capcom's very first game, Vulgus, as an enemy, and has gone on to appear in Mega Man and many other games (albeit with a more helpful role).
  • Gex the gecko was the mascot of Crystal Dynamics from 1995 to 2003, when the studio began developing the Tomb Raider series.
  • Microsoft intended for Blinx to be their mascot for their new Xbox franchise of gaming consoles. Blinx was a cute Mascot with Attitude cat meant to attract younger gamers and the Japanese market, where cutesy mascots are popular. However, the game ended up bombing, and didn't help the Xbox's poor reception in Japan. Blinx ended up being a Stillborn Franchise with only one sequel. The Xbox's flagship title instead ended up being Halo, with its main character Master Chief becoming the unofficial Xbox "mascot". Master Chief helped solidify the view of Xbox as a console for older audiences, in contrast to Sony's and especially Nintendo's more family-friendly images. To make it clear they've lost all interest in Blinx, they abandoned the trademark in 2015.
  • Unlike its competition, the PlayStation brand doesn't have a concrete mascot (barring Toro Inoue, who was Japan-only). It instead has a series of popular characters who all work as mascots, some official and some unofficially. Most of these mascots only last a few years before being demoted:
    • The brand's first attempt at a mascot was Polygon Man, a purple, spiky-haired Flying Face constructed of polygons meant to represent the console's 3D capabilities. After a single showing at E3 and a negative reaction from PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi, he was quickly and quietly dropped as a mascot and never seen nor heard until 2012 where he came back as the final boss in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Though he specifically didn't like the way Polygon Man looked, Kutaragi was opposed to the brand having any kind of mascot, as he felt a mascot would dictate what kinds of games would be popular on the console, when he instead intended his console to be a blank canvas where developers and gamers could make and play any kind of games they wanted.
    • Crash Bandicoot was the PlayStation's answer to Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog. He was an incredibly popular character in both western countries and Japan (a rare feat for a western character) and was created as a Kid-Appeal Character to get younger gamers to buy a PlayStation. Crash's time as a mascot only lasted a few years though — Crash Bandicoot was never actually owned by Sony, he was owned by Universal, and after a series of corporate mergers and acquisitions eventually fell into the hands of Activision; Naughty Dog stopped working on the franchise right when the PlayStation 2 was being released. Crash Bandicoot became a multiplat series afterwards before fading after the release of Mind Over Mutant in 2008. It was revived in the 2010s, first as a PS4 exclusive, but later became multiplat. In an ironic twist, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022, making Microsoft the new owner of the Crash Bandicoot franchise and the former PlayStation mascot potentially an Xbox/Windows exclusive.
    • Spyro the Dragon came out a few years after Crash and shared its status as a mascot, albeit to a far lesser degree. Similarly to Crash Bandicoot, it only lasted three main titles under its creators before they moved on due to wanting to make a main character who could use guns. It became multiplat and eventually faded after the The Legend of Spyro Continuity Reboot before, as with Crash, falling into Activision's clutches, with only cameos in Skylanders (which was conceived as a Spyro MMO before becoming a separate franchise) afterwards, until Spyro Reignited Trilogy revived it. Microsoft is set to be the new owner of the franchise alongside Crash Bandicoot.
    • Parappa The Rapper was a brightly coloured, kid-friendly rhythm title. It received a spinoff, a sequel on the PS2, and even an anime but couldn't quite become the main PlayStation mascot. Despite the fact he hasn't had a new title in years (bar rereleases), Parappa pops up every once in a while nevertheless, such as appearing in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
    • The character of Captain Blasto, from the game Blasto, was being set up by Sony to be a potential mascot after his game was released on the original PlayStation. Despite the game's lukewarm reception, the character himself was well-liked, given he was voiced by comedian Phil Hartman, who was also the head creative. Sony already green-lit a sequel and plans for a cartoon and merchandise. However, this ended up being a very heartbreaking example of this trope, as Hartman's infamous death occurred two months after the game's release. Since Hartman was an influential part of the game's development and the character, the developers felt there was no point in making a franchise without him and cancelled those plans, so Captain Blasto's time as a mascot ended before it truly began.
    • After Crash and Spyro, Naughty Dog and Insomniac came up with who many consider the mascots of the PlayStation 2: Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank. Both were highly successful on the PS2, and while the Ratchet franchise continues to this day, Jak has been dormant for many years.
    • LittleBigPlanet's protagonist, Sackboy, was the mascot of the PlayStation 3 but dropped off with the PlayStation 4.
    • Knack was a failed attempt at a mascot for the PS4. The game didn't have a positive enough reception to become popular.
    • Most recently, Astro Bot — a cute little robot first featured in Astro Bot Rescue Mission, a 2018 game for PlayStation VR (itself related to the bot characters who first showed up in The Playroom for the regular PS4, then in The Playroom VR), seems to have become the mascot for the PlayStation 5, being the protagonist of the Tech Demo Game Astro's Playroom, which comes pre-installed on all PS5 consoles.
  • Pokémon's original mascot is assumed to have been intended to be Clefairy. Pikachu, a more gender-neutral but equally cute character, ended up surpassing it as the mascot at the last minute. Ash in Pokémon: The Series was intended to receive a Clefairy starter but ended up with a Pikachu instead. Red from the Pocket Monsters manga (the longest-running adaptation of the series) owns both a Clefairy and a Pikachu as a reference to how Clefairy was the original mascot.
  • Sega:
    • Sega's first mascot was the ship from Fantasy Zone, Opa-Opa, however eventually it was replaced with the protagonist of Alex Kidd. However Alex Kidd never became that successful, especially outside of Japan. For the Sega Mega Drive, Sega conceived a new mascot to go against Nintendo's Super Mario Bros.. Sonic the Hedgehog quickly replaced Alex Kidd and Sonic has been Sega's mascot ever since. Alex has appeared in a few cameo roles over the years, but after the release of Alex Kidd in Shinobi World in 1990, he didn't receive a new game of his own until the release of Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX in 2021.
      • Segagaga pokes fun at this by having Alex Kidd work as a clerk in a Sega store, after the company stops making games for him to work with Sonic instead.
    • Opa-Opa was Sega's first official mascot, but their first unofficial mascot was Professor Asobin, a Funny Animal rabbit who showed up in manuals for SG-1000 games to offer advice to the players. He was later replaced with Alex Kidd as well.

    Web Original 
  • The aforementioned fact that Ronald McDonald was replaced by Happy the Happy Meal box is discussed in-universe in Epic Rap Battles of History's "Ronald McDonald vs The Burger King"; specifically, it's delivered as a jab from surprise third-party rapper Wendy (of Wendy's fame) towards Ronald (as seen on the page quote above).
  • Back in the 90s, the web browser company Netscape had a Godzilla clone dubbed "Mozilla", who would appear in various easter eggs, around the company headquarters, etc. If you think the name rings a bell, there's a reason — when AOL bought Netscape and proceeded to mangle Netscape into obscurity, much of Netscape's staff left to form the Mozilla Foundation, creators of the Mozilla Firefox browser. As for the mascot itself, he got a redesign when Mozilla split off from Netscape (becoming a fiercer-looking T-rex), but has since been "retired from active duty". The original Mozilla continued to appear at the bottom of every page of DMOZ (the Directory of Mozilla) until AOL finally shuttered the site in 2017.
  • Pico used to be this for the flash and animation centered website Newgrounds. Being one of Tom Fulp's original game characters and having a whole site holiday named after him, Pico saw a lot of attention that peaked in the mid-to-late 2000s, but the introduction of franchises like Madness Combat and Tankmen (the latter of which was already a site mascot but got even more popular because of the shorts) displaced Pico until he was all but forgotten. He did still show up in official art and Newgrounds Rumble, and many fan works afterwards poked fun of his former mascot status...up until Friday Night Funkin', which boosted his popularity back up.

    Western Animation 
  • Walt Disney started out with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as his first flagship animated character. Oswald was on his way to becoming an iconic cartoon character like Felix the Cat, however Disney lost the rights to Oswald after creating only a few shorts for him. Oswald continued to have shorts written by others however they weren't as popular as Disney's and Oswald was discontined by the 1940s. After Disney lost the rights to Oswald and his wife Ortensia he created two Suspiciously Similar Substitutes, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. They were hits and would soon eclipse Oswald and Ortensia. Mickey ended up becoming the most iconic cartoon character within a few decades. Almost a century after Walt Disney lost the rights to Oswald, the Disney company brought him back and revived him with the video game Epic Mickey. He, his wife, and their many children have appeared in cameos since then, and are even characters at Disney theme parks.
  • Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes series went through a series of mascots to counter Disney's aforementioned Mickey. The early shorts first introduced Bosko, a similar blackface style Everyman character, though, like Oswald, creators and rights led to the character being traded to a rival animation company, MGM. The later character, Beans the Cat was intended to be the next attempt at a mascot, but his sidekick Porky Pig trounced him in popularity. Porky's mascot status lasted for a while until the staff eventually conceived a smartalec Karmic Trickster by the name of Bugs Bunny, who quickly surpassed Porky in popularity and became the face for Looney Tunes from there on out.

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